Top 10 Best Scuba BCDs of 2019

Your Scuba BCD (Buoyancy Control Device) allows you to adjust buoyancy throughout the dive as well as hold your dive kit together.

It basically allows you to safely ascend and descend from your dive. It also helps maintain neutral buoyancy and keep you streamline, preventing you from crashing into the bottom or coral.  That’s why it’s an important piece of dive equipment and consider to be part the core dive gear.

BCD’s aren’t cheap and comes in different styles, sizes, and features to choose from.

So, how do you know what’s the best Scuba BCD for you?

We have done most of the work for you an created this guide to help you make the right choice, as well as a comparison chart and review of the best models.

Scuba BCD Comparison Chart

Below you will find a comparison chart with our pick of the 10 best scuba BCD. Use it to quickly compare still and there most important features.

Because lift capacity may vary by size, the values shown below are based on size medium. 

Computer

Rating

Price

Style

Lift Capacity

Weight Integrated

Trim Weight Pockets

Check Price

Scubapro Hydros Pro

9.0

$$$

Back-Inflated

36lbs/16.3KG

2

Cressi Start Pro 2.0 BCD

8.0

$

Jacket Style

33.7 Lbs/15.29 Kg

zeagle ranger ltd

9.5

$$$

Back-Inflated

44Lbs/20Kg

2

8.0

$$

Jacket Style

29Lbs/13 Kg

2

Scubapro Litehawk Travel BCD

8.5

$$

Back-Inflated

29.2Lbs/13.2Kg

Optional

2

Zeagle Stiletto BCD

9.5

$$$

Back-Inflated

35 Lbs/15.9 Kg

2

Mares Bolt SLS BCD

8.5

$$

Back-Inflated

41 Lbs/18.6 Kg

2

Zeagle Express Tech Deluxe

9.0

$$

Back-Inflated

24 Lbs/10.89 Kg

Optinal

Scubapro Equator BCD

9.0

$$

Jacket Style

22.5 Lbs/10.2Kg

Hollis HD 200 BCD

9.5

$$

Back-Inflated

35 Lbs/15.9 Kg

2

Scuba BCD Reviews

Scubapro Hydros Pro

Scubapro Hydros Pro

Type:

Back-Inflated

Weight Integration:

Trim Weight Pockets:

2

Lift Capacity:

36lbs/16.3KG

D-Rings:

4

Pockets:

Modular

Women's Version:

Manufacture:

Best For:

Serious Divers. Also Great for those who dive at home and abroad

  • Modular customization And Comfort. Can Easily Transformed Into a travel BCD 
  • Very durable design. No zippers or Velcro 
  • Drys Instantly, great for the traveling diver
  • Quite Expensive. If you are a serious diver then go for if, but if you only dive a few time a year then no need to get this BCD 

Cressi Start Pro 2.0

Cressi Start Pro 2.0 BCD

Type:

Jacket Style

Weight Integration:

Trim Weight Pockets:

Lift Capacity:

33.7 Lbs/15.29 Kg

D-Rings:

4

Pockets:

2 with hook and loop Closures

Women's Version:

Manufacture:

Best For:

beginners 

  • Quite affordable and well built design
  • Excellent size to lift ratio, floats well on the surface 
  • Comfortable fit, minimal squeeze when fully inflated 
  • Might be too bulky for traveling 

Zeagle Ranger LTD  

zeagle ranger ltd

Type:

Back-Inflated

Weight Integration:

Trim Weight Pockets:

2  (20Lbs/9Kg Capacity)

Lift Capacity:

44Lbs/20Kg

D-Rings:

6

Pockets:

2 Zippered Utility

Women's Version:

Manufacture:

Best For:

Experience or Tech Divers

  • Superbly Comfortable, very durable and well built BCD system
  • Plenty of lift as well as enough pockets and D-rings for you equipment 
  • Can accommodate twin cylinder system
  • Expensive, but you get what you pay for 
  • Minus Circle
    Too much gear for the beginner diver

Sherwood Avid 

Type:

Jacket Style

Weight Integration:

Trim Weight Pockets:

2  

Lift Capacity:

29 lbs/13 kg

D-Rings:

6

Pockets:

2 Zippered, 1 Hook and Loop

Women's Version:

Manufacture:

Best For:

Beginner to Intermediate Divers

  • Affordable price point with high end quality
  • Great surface floating position with virtually no body squeeze
  • Easy to service and maintain
  • Side Pockets lock a lot of space due to the weight system 

Scubapro Litehawk

Scubapro Litehawk Travel BCD

Type:

Back-Inflated

Weight Integration:

Optional

Trim Weight Pockets:

2  

Lift Capacity:

29.2Lbs/13.2Kg

D-Rings:

4

Pockets:

Women's Version:

Manufacture:

Best For:

traveling Diver

  • Lightweight, easy to pack, great for traveling
  • A very low profile reduces drag and increase your range of freedom 
  • Floats great on the surface
  • Optional quick-release weight pockets will add to the cost

Zeagle Stiletto

Zeagle Stiletto BCD

Type:

Back-Inflated

Weight Integration:

Trim Weight Pockets:

2  (16Lbs Capaicity)

Lift Capacity:

35 lbs/15.9 kg

D-Rings:

5

Pockets:

2 Zippered

Women's Version:

Manufacture:

Best For:

warm and Temperate Diving 

  • Comfortable, rugged, and easy to use
  • Packs easy, can be use for traveling 
  • Plenty of space and D-ring for all you equipment and accessories   
  • Does not support double tanks

Mares Bolt SLS

Mares Bolt SLS BCD

Type:

Back-Inflated

Weight Integration:

Trim Weight Pockets:

2  

Lift Capacity:

41 lbs/18.6 kg

D-Rings:

6

Pockets:

1 Roll-down cargo pocket

Women's Version:

Manufacture:

Best For:

Travel 

  • Attractive price point, very comfortable and Streamlined
  • Able to handle single or double tanks 
  • Easy to use weight system that indicates green when latched 
  • Needs to be somewhat vertical to dump air

Zeagle Express Tech Deluxe 

Zeagle Express Tech Deluxe

Type:

Back-Inflated

Weight Integration:

Trim Weight Pockets:

Optional

Lift Capacity:

24 Lbs/10.89 Kg

D-Rings:

Pockets:

Optional

Women's Version:

Manufacture:

Best For:

Travel/Customization

  • High customization and versatile lightweight travel BC
  • Compatible with other bladder for more lift 
  • Can accommodate twin cylinder system  
  • No shoulder dump valve 

Scubapro Equator 

Scubapro Equator BCD

Type:

Jacket Style

Weight Integration:

Trim Weight Pockets:

Lift Capacity:

22.5 lbs/10.2Kg

D-Rings:

6

Pockets:

2 Zippered Closure

Women's Version:

Manufacture:

Best For:

Recreation/travel

  • Very comfortable fit with adequate padding where needed
  • Stable on the surface as well a rock-solid tank security system 
  • Plenty of storage and D-ring for your dive accessories 
  • No built in trim pocket 

Hollis HD 200

Hollis HD 200 BCD

Type:

Back-Inflated

Weight Integration:

Trim Weight Pockets:

2 (5 lbs/2.27 kg each)

Lift Capacity:

35 lbs/15.88 kg

D-Rings:

9

Pockets:

2 Zippered Closure

Women's Version:

Manufacture:

Best For:

Advanced/Tech Divers

  • Spacious Pocket and Plenty of D-Rings for Your Accessories
  • Plenty of lift and very stable on the surface
  • Soft Comfortable fit and the crotch stop the BCD from riding up 
  • Bulky and heavy, not ideal for traveling

Beginner’s Guide To Buying A Scuba BCD

Buying a new BCD can be daunting at first glance. There is lot to consider when choosing the BCD that’s right for you. A few things you would want to condenser is your budget, the the style that works best for your type of diving, weight capacity, lift capacity, fit, and comfort.  

Type of BCD

There are basically 3 different styles of BCD. There are no right or wrong style.  The one you choose with depend on your level of diving and personal preference.

Jacket-Style BCD

This is the most common style of BCD. When inflated it wraps air around your waist, back, and shoulder. They are very stable on the surface of the water, making them a great choice for beginner divers. However, and improper fit can cause squeezing when over inflated. 

Back-Inflated BCDs

As the name implies. Only an air balder on the back is inflated, which frees up space in the front allowing the diver to move more freely when fully inflated. While they are great at keeping you horizontal underwater, on the surface it can be difficult to stay vertical when inflated.

Back Plate and Winged BCDs

These style of BCD are generally preferred by technical divers but are now rising in popularity among recreational divers. They are modular allowing to customize your BCD to the type of diving you will be doing. They are also able to accommodate multiple dive cylinder. They allow  you to choose infinite combination between back-plate and wing system.  

Lift Capacity

Now that you’ve decided which style work best for your type of diving. You need to know if you BCD will have enough lift capacity to keep you floating on the surface while wearing all your dive gear. For recreational diving, most BCD have enough lift capacity to keep you on the surface. However, it when you start to dive with multiple cylinders and exta tool for commercial or technical diving that you will require extra lift.

Fit and Comfort

A BCD should fit you like a comfortably–fitting coat; it should allow you to move freely without binding or slipping.

The ideal BCD fit includes:

  • Snug, but not tight around your mid-section and arms/shoulders
  • Straps should cinch across your body comfortably, but shouldn’t have slop or feel constrictive
  • Hoses and valves should be easily accessible and within reach

Women BCDs

Many dive manurfacture make a woman version of their most popular BCD.

Modern ladies BCDs offer female divers increased comfort and a much better fit compared to the unisex alternatives. Key features are that the back length is reduced, which means the cylinder does not rest on the base of your spine and the shape of the BCD is made to fit the female figure.

Integrated weights save your hips from the bruising sometimes suffered by using a conventional weight belt. Also, often the chest straps are removed on a ladies BCD to avoid constriction across the bust.

Integrated Weights

Some BCDs are weight-integrated, which means you can put your dive weights into little pockets or compartments of your jacket or vest. This means you don’t have to wear a separate dive belt strapped around your waist.

A somewhat newer feature added to BCDs is the notion of an integrated weight system. This offers divers the ability to distribute soft weights around their bodies by putting small (usually 1-5 pounds) pouches of lead shot into various pockets in the BCD, rather than wearing weight only around the waist. Weight integrated BCD‘s allow the diver to reduce the amount of weight worn on the weight belt and increases the diver’s safety factor.

Some of the integrated weight in a BCD can be dumped in case of an emergency. This option is much safer than if a person is only wearing a weight belt without an integrated weight system because if a person is only wearing a weight belt, then if the weight belt is dumped, all of the weight is gone. If a person wearing an weight integrated BCD dumps weight, only a portion of the weight is gone; this allows the diver to have a rapid ascent that is still controlled, which greatly reduces health risks, like the bends.

Pockets and D rings

You will also want to ensure that your BCD has enough pocket and D-rings for the type of diving you will be doing. 

Make sure that your BCD has enough pockets and D-rings for the kind of diving that you are planning to do most. Often D-rings are pre-bent over your shoulders to flare outwards towards the bottom which makes attaching clips much easier than with flat D-rings which tend to lay flat against the BCD or straight out, usually found around your waist.

In tropical waters, only one or two small pockets will suffice useful for carrying things like your Fish ID slate. For UK and cold water diving, you will probably want to carry more equipment such as a dSMB and reel or spare mask but you can always use thigh pockets for extra storage.

 

In addition to buoyancy control, BCDs are frequently used to carry the burden of the diver’s gear. D-rings are used to clip items, such as your Scuba Light, gauge boots, regulator and octopuses, etc., to the diver to keep them close but not in the way. Make sure the BCD you decide on has enough anchoring points to satisfy your gear needs.

Pockets, straps and other attachment points are important for storing your dive accessories. You should always have somewhere to attach your dive torch and dive knife as well as your whistles, lights or surface markers.

Look for BCDs with several D-rings. Pockets can help you stay streamlined by tucking your dive accessories inside. This way, you won’t have to worry about anything dragging you underwater or dragging and potentially damaging precious marine life and structure.

 

Travel BCDs

For the intrepid explorer, these are light weight and can be packed down small, however they are not as durable as standard BCs as the material used is a lot lighter that the normal ones. The material is robust enough for regular use though, and it is super easy to pack. Just bear in mind that you wont be able to carry lots of extra weights and most travel BCD’s don’t have enough pockets or clips to carry much extra equipment, so if you are a diver who likes their accessories, then perhaps this is not a great choice for you!

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